Fashionable exit

Attia is now opening her own business as a manicurist and pedicurist.

Rose Attia (photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)
Rose Attia
(photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)
After nine months living here, Rose Attia knows she will never want to return to Paris.
“Even before the whole affair with Charlie Hebdo, things were not looking great for the Jews in France,” says the statuesque 24-year-old who made aliya in October 2014.
She was born there and grew up in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly, which has a sizable Jewish community. Her parents divorced and her Algerian-born father came to Israel five years ago to take care of his elderly mother. After she died, he decided he would stay in Israel and settled in Ir Yamim, a community in south Netanya. He opened a real-estate business and is making a new life here.
Attia is living with her father until she can find her own place, and occasionally helps with his business. Finding properties for new French arrivals is, it seems, a full-time job, as they are coming to live here “in hordes,” to borrow the prime ministerial phrase.
Attia is now opening her own business as a manicurist and pedicurist.
“I love fashion and everything to do with appearance,” she says.
She studied the subject in her native Paris and gained the necessary qualifications in all aspects of nail care. She also has a qualification from the Mod- Art College, where she took a course in fashion management.
In her studies she learned how to prepare a fashion show and all that it entails – dealing with everything from the hiring of a suitable hall to handling the press.
“I worked as a fashion consultant before coming to Israel,” she says. “My mother has a very good job in marketing and she was able to introduce me to all the right people. I loved the work, advising people – men and women – how to put an outfit together, and how to choose the right clothes for a special occasion.”
While she would love to do something similar in Israel, she knows she has to get known in the business by starting at the bottom and working her way up to one day dressing the stars.
So for the time being she works as a manicurist, visiting people in their homes anywhere around the center of the country. She has already built up a faithful list of clients in the short time she has been working here.
Very soon she is also going to become officially engaged to Rafael, her boyfriend, another Algerian-born Parisian who came here four years ago.
“He works as an electrician, and we were good friends for years,” recounts Attia. “Then, when I made aliya, he helped me a lot, accompanying me to all the offices and dealing with the endless bureaucracy.”
Love blossomed and Rafael, who finished his army service about the same time as Attia made aliya, proposed. The official engagement is to be in Paris in the autumn, but they are determined the wedding will be in Israel.
Since she came here and finished the ulpan in Beit Brodetsky in Ramat Aviv, Attia has been strengthened in her religious beliefs to the point where she now keeps Shabbat and is working on her fiancé to come round to her point of view.
She is also working hard to improve her Hebrew language skills.
“I learned a little Hebrew as a child and I had a bat mitzva, but I couldn’t remember very much,” she says. “I did the whole course offered in the absorption center and my aim is to speak really good Hebrew, because I want to be totally accepted in Israeli society, and for that I think the language is terribly important.”
When she sees what has been happening in her native country, she is more than happy to be here.
“To tell you the truth, I’m a little scared now for my mother and brother still in Paris,” she says. “I have friends studying at the university there who tell me that the Muslim students unfurled a Palestinian flag on campus and shout out ‘Death to the Jews’ and ‘Death to Israel.’ It’s horrible for the students there.”
The police come when they are called, Attia says, but usually do nothing.
“It would be better if they were to prevent something bad, instead of waiting for it to happen,” she says.
But Attia has more pressing personal issues than worrying about anti-Semitism in France.
“I’ve always been passionate about looks and appearance, and I’m convinced that the hands are a crucial part of improving the beauty of a silhouette to give the perfect figure.”
She also makes a point of observing her clients and talking to them to understand their needs and special demands.
She particularly enjoys working in people’s homes rather than in a salon, which she feels is much more impersonal.
“No one is in a hurry and you can take your time,” she says.
She likes to work with people of all ages and styles and loves preparing brides for their big day.
“For every age there is an appropriate look, whether it’s in makeup, clothes or just hands,” she says.